BFRDP Projects

Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Program: Growing Opportunities Beneath the Canopy
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $656,903
Grant Program: 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: John Munsell
Organization: Virginia Tech University


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

Increasing demand for high- quality, herbal and nutraceutical products is improving the financial equation for forest farmers. Receiving premium prices for medicinal plant products depends on a forest farmer's ability to consistently supply forest grown material. The Appalachian region contains native habitat for more than 15 forest farmable medicinal plants and is home to rich ethnobotanical connections. If trained and connected (to fellow forest farmers and service providers), beginning Appalachian forest farmers will be in a better position to capitalize on industry demand and sustain premium sales of high-quality forest grown organic stock. A collaboration across multiple academic institutions and governmental and non-governmental organizations, the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC) is a project that increases opportunities for forest farmers and forestland owners in Appalachia and beyond who are interested in starting or expanding/diversifying a forest farming operation.

We are a diverse project partnership ranging from Georgia to Pennsylvania with four non-governmental organizations, four universities, extension, three agency partners, forest farmers, and a forest grown verification program, all with extensive technical and market-based experience. Our goal is to support beginning Appalachian medicinal plant forest farmers by forming a coalition that provides technical, administrative, and market sales training and improves access to farm resource inventory and plant habitat management services. To accomplish this we 1) established an inclusive coalition with clear organizational structure and decision making processes; and began to 2) educate, train, and support beginning forest farmers; and 3) improve forest farm inventory and medicinal plant habitat management services for beginning forest farmers.  Long-term condition change will be an improvement in agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers in Appalachia which positively impacts families, farms, and communities.

Number of Participants: 1052


Promotional Materials

There are no promotional materials available for this project.

Educational Materials

There are no educational materials available for this project.

Reports & Evaluations

There are no reports or evaluations available for this project.

Delivery Area

Describe any unexpected results of the project:

How would you improve the project if you were to do it again?

What were the keys to success for your participants?

Individual Stories / Examples of Success